Some of country music’s biggest names are reminiscing about what made Merle Haggard a legend in the wake of his death at the age of 79.
“We’ve lost one of the greatest writers and singers of all time,” Dolly Parton said in a statement, ABC News reports. “His heart was as tender as his love ballads. I loved him like a brother. Rest easy, Merle.”
Haggard was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994.
His son Ben confirmed his death on Facebook.
“A week ago dad told us he was gonna pass on his birthday, and he wasn’t wrong. A hour ago he took his last breath surrounded by family and friends,” Ben Haggard wrote. “He loved everything about life and he loved that everyone of you gave him a chance with his music.”
Haggard’s death was greeted with an outpouring of mourning on social media from country music stars.
There are no words to describe the loss & sorrow felt within all of music with the passing of Merle Haggard. Thank God for his life & songs.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) April 6, 2016
Love and prayers for the Haggard family. Merle was a pioneer…a true entertainer…a legend. There will never be another like him.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) April 6, 2016
We lost one of the best today. Rest in peace Merle Haggard…. You will be missed pic.twitter.com/672bX7VSEy
— Tyler Farr (@tylerfarr) April 6, 2016
My heart is absolutely broken in two at the news of the loss of Merle Haggard. We keep losing all of the good ones. What a sad, sad day…
— Jay DeMarcus (@JayDeMarcus) April 6, 2016
Haggard died from pneumonia, said his manager.